Reflections on Youth Engagement


Our research shows that using YCCS as a way to engage young people in thinking about complex interactions between human and nature can promote sophisticated reasoning, access to student’s funds of knowledge, and connection to place. In the blog posts below, read more about how educators are encouraging young people to grapple with the world around them.

Blog entry

Invasive Tamarisk Removal: A youth-led project

Mireya Bejarano

This post was authored by Mireya Bejarano, an undergraduate student studying Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at the University of California, Davis. She has been working with the Center for Community and Citizen Science as a research assistant since 2020. She is interested in the positive impacts that citizen science and conservation can have on each other when combined. She plans to pursue a career in conservation post graduation. Her favorite bird native to California is the Loggerhead Shrike.

Blog entry Peggy Harte Written by Peggy Harte, MEd

Using Environmental Literacy as the Through Line, All Standards All Students: A Focus on Equity and Access

Environmental Literacy, Environmental Principles & Concepts, Next Generation Science Standards, Incremental Infusion

Student participating in classroom activity

Using Environmental Literacy as the Through Line, All Standards All Students: A Focus on Equity and Access


Environmental Literacy, Environmental Principles & Concepts, Next Generation Science Standards, Incremental Infusion

Post Peggy Harte

New Video: Gardens & Citizen Science Project in Woodland Elementary Schools

The Center for Community and Citizen Science is happy to share this new video, produced by our partner Yolo County Office of Education, describing our collective work on citizen science in school gardens. The video introduces our ongoing Gardens & Citizen Science Project, and profiles the work teachers are doing to implement citizen science school gardens, in Woodland, California! Check out the video here.

Post Peggy Harte


In 2016, the State Board of Education set out to change the way students learn science by adopting the Science Framework for California Public Schools. The new framework is designed to help students deepen their knowledge in four disciplines rather than having shallow understandings on many topics. It also emphasizes what students do with their understanding of science is more important than what they know. This significant shift in the curriculum can revolutionize how students learn and practice science, but it is crucial to prepare K-5 teachers for this transition.

Blog entry

Listen to a radio interview about “Our Forests”

In early November 2019, KVMR’s Educationally Speaking program invited ​Sol Henson, the Educational Co-Director at Sierra Streams Institute, and our own Erin Bird to discuss the Youth Community Action and Science in Our Forests (“Our Forests”) project, now getting underway in Nevada County. The Our Forests project will train and support participating 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teachers as they work with their students, local environmental scientists and community organizations to study local forests and fire risk.


Engaging Educators in the City Nature Challenge

The Center collaborated with the California Naturalist Program, educators in the Woodland Joint Unified School District, and a variety of local nature centers and reserves to encourage participation in the Sacramento City Nature Challenge. Despite being its first year participating in this global competition (as one of more than 160 cities worldwide), over 500 people in the Sacramento region logged 9,798 observations of over 1,200 unique species using iNaturalist.


New Paper: A Framework for Teachers to Design and Facilitate Citizen Science Activities

A new paper by recently graduated Emily Harris and the Center’s Faculty Director, Heidi Ballard, provides a framework for educators to design and implement citizen science projects in the classroom to facilitate meaningful student learning. This publication adds an important component to our suite of materials aimed at helping educators use Youth-focused Community and Citizen Science in their work.

Post Heidi Ballard Ryan Meyer

Youth-focused Community and Citizen Science


This blog post, authored by Ryan Meyer, Heidi Ballard, and Lila Higgins, originally appeared on the Blue Sky Funders Forum blog.

When do experiences with science lead young people to create change in their lives, landscapes, and communities? Consider this reflection from Rachel Anne Arias, a 12-year-old living in La Crescenta in Southern California:

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